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Mackiewicz wants to return to Nanga Parbat

Tomasz Mackiewicz

Tomek’s love for Nanga Parbat almost verges on mania. Six winters in a row, from 2011 to 2016, the “Naked Mountain” in Pakistan dismissed Tomasz Mackiewicz. But the 42-year-old climber from Poland just does not give up. He wants to make his way to Nanga Parbat for the seventh time this winter – if he is able to finance the expedition. Tomek has again launched a crowdfunding campaign on the internet. “Money is always a problem,” Mackiewicz writes to me. “I’am poor.”

Others succeeded the first winter ascent

Group picture 2016 – with Tomek (r.)

Even before and during his last Nanga Parbat expedition in winter 2015/2016, the father of four, who earns his living as a car mechanic, had collected donations for his project on the Internet. At that time he had reached an altitude of 7,500 meters with his French team partner Elisabeth Revol. After Mackiewicz and Revol had abandoned their expedition, the Spaniard Alex Txikon, the Italian Simone Moro and the Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” had succeeded the historic first winter ascent of  Nanga Parbat on 26 February 2016. Mackiewicz had subsequently doubted the summit success and also accused Moro that he had wanted to boycott Tomek’s expedition in Pakistan.

Moro criticizes low-budget tactics

Tomek Mackiewicz on ascent

The Italian rejected the accusation in an interview with the Polish website “” – pointing out that some of Tomek’s declarations were “often given under the evident influence of drugs and/or alcohol”. Not a very fine reply, after all, considering that Mackiewicz makes no secret of the fact that he was heroin-addicted as a young adult and that it took him years of rehabilitation to get rid of the drug. In his recent book, “Nanga in Winter”, Moro also criticized the low-budget tactics of the Polish climber, who “fanatically forgoes any kind of accommodation”: “There is not much point in setting off in bad weather, getting yourself into trouble and, for example, spending a week in an emergency bivouac in the snow without food, if you can avoid it.”

“Pure Alpine style”

Moro and Mackiewicz will probably not become best friends again.  When I ask the Pole for his motivation, after Txikon, Moro and Ali “Sadpara” have made history with their first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat, Tomek answers with a side-swipe at the Italian: “My motivation to climb Nanga was a long time before Simone arrived there. His motivation was to be first. My one is to climb it in pure Alpine style in winter.”

On Buhl’s track

Hermann Buhl

As in 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, Mackiewicz wants to complete the so-called “Messner route”, according to Tomek “the only possible Alpine style route in winter”. In 2000, the South Tyroleans Reinhold and Hubert Messner, Hanspeter Eisendle and Wolfgang Tomaseth had opened the route through the Northeast Face up to an altitude of 7,500 meters. Further up there are two options, says Tomek: “My dream is to continue on the Hermann Buhl route (the Austrian Buhl succeeded the first ascent of Nanga Parbat in 1953, solo climbing the last 1,300 meters in altitude) to the summit.” As an alternative, the Polish climber considers to cross over to the right to the Kinshofer route and to reach the highest point on the normal route.

Again with Revol?

Elisabeth Revol and Tomek

Mackiewicz wants to climb again (as on his last two attempts on Nanga Parbat) with Elisabeth Revol. Tomek did not want to (or was not allowed to) confirm, that the Frenchwoman has already promised to join him. Revol herself does not yet want to reveal her plans for the upcoming winter. But if I had to, I would bet on another team Mackiewicz/Revol on Nanga Parbat. This year, Elisabeth had tried in vain to climb the Manaslu in winter. In spring, she climbed on Makalu up to the 8,445-meter-high pre-summit, reached the 8516-meter-high summit of Lhotse and returned on Everest – ascending as always without bottled oxygen – in bad weather halfway between the nearly 8000-meter-high South Col and the highest point at 8,850 meters.


18. November 2017 | 17:40